Growing a Youtube channel is not easy. Even if you make entertaining, helpful, high-quality videos, you still have to get noticed in order to get views and subscribers. One way of increasing channel recognition and catching people’s eyes is to make a good Youtube banner.
YouTube banners should include a logo, a short description of the channel/content, and how often viewers can expect uploads. Snappa.com and Canva.com are both good options for designing banners. Banners are important because they can help channels gain subscribers and lead to business opportunities.
In this tutorial, we’ll provide you with everything that you need to know to make a popping Youtube banner.
Why Does a Good Banner Matter?
A banner—after your profile picture and possibly your videos—is one of the first things that newcomers will encounter when they find your channel. You’ll want to make sure that they have a good experience the first time they associate with your channel.
Because of this, a banner can be influential for gaining more subscribers. Youtube channels with average banners might get a lot of people who navigate to their page, but few who subscribe. A good banner can reassure a viewer that the channel is professional, current, and produces quality content.
A good banner that promotes your channel in the right way could even lead to business opportunities. But nobody wants to do business with somebody that doesn’t appear professional, quality, and ready to work. Make sure that your banner reflects the mood that you want your audience (or potential clients) to have when they interact with your channel!
What Should I Include on My Youtube Banner?
The most common question people have when making a Youtube banner is “What should I even put on there?” Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to make a banner, let’s talk about the info that should go on there. Ultimately, a Youtube banner is a piece of art, and you are the sole owner and creator of your Youtube channel. You have full creative control, and at the end of the day, we recommend you go with what you feel is right. However, having some guidelines for what to include can be helpful, especially if you’re just starting up on Youtube, or you’re creating banners for somebody else.
As a basic guideline, you should include at least the logo of the channel and a short, catchy phrase that helps describe the channel. This could be a catchphrase if you have one, or a short description of the channel’s content. Another helpful piece that many Youtubers include is the frequency of their uploads (e.g., “New videos every other week,” or “Uploads every Monday”). Advertising this can help new viewers know when to expect uploads from you, leading to increased channel interaction. A good example of a banner that includes all of these is TheFigCo.
One of the best things you can do to increase your influence is to have cross-site compatibility. In other words, including links to other social media accounts that you use for content can be immensely helpful for increasing your follower counts. Youtube can include links to these accounts if you provide them. Skip down to the section “How do I Upload my Banner to Youtube?” to see how to do this.
What Dimensions Should My Banner Be?
For best results, Youtube recommends using images that are at least 2048 x 1152 pixels. However, most design-sites default to a size of 2560 x 1440 px, as this is how it will appear on the biggest possible output, which is TV screens.
When you’re designing the banner, you’ll want to keep multiple dimensions in mind. For every screen size, there are different dimensions that will appear. Everything that appears on the smallest screen size will appear on the biggest screen size, but not vice-versa. There are certain areas that will appear on your biggest screen that will be cut off of your smallest screen. The following dimensions are what appear on each screen size, from smallest to largest:
- 1546 x 423px – These dimensions will be shown on every device. These are the smallest dimensions and usually cell phones will display this size. All of your “must-have” information should go here so that it is displayed on every device.
- 1855 x 423px – This is what will be shown on tablet and dekstop versions of Youtube. Notice that the height is the same as the smallest dimension, so this will only increase in width. Note: this extra width is where your social media links will appear (on the right side)
- 2560 x 1440 px – This is the biggest size, and why you should upload this size. This will normally appear only on TV screens.
When designing your banner, you should use a mobile-first design. This will ensure that all of the information you need to share is displayed on every device; extra space on larger screens should generally only be used for design, not for content.
It may be a good idea to create overlaying/transparent dimensions of these sizes on your design interface so that you can see what will appear for each size. Snappa’s Youtube banner created from scratch actually includes these dimensions as a background for you! But you could create something similar in any design software. Here, I’ve created a similar functionality using Canva:
And here, I’ve accomplished practically the same thing using Ruler lines that aren’t displayed when I download:
What Should I Use to Make My Banner?
There are many graphic design softwares available for use. Some are expensive, and others can be used for free. Any of these softwares will work fine for creating a Youtube banner. You could use Microsoft paint, Google Sheets, Powerpoint, or anything else. However, we have some recommendations below.
For most people, a free online software like canva.com or snappa.com will be the best option. With easy-to-use interfaces, pre-set dimension sizes, templates, and free options, both of these are great options for what most people need. Using either of these softwares, you can upload photos, add text, change color schemes, change backgrounds, and just about everything else you might need to do.
For more artistic endeavors, you might want to use something like Adobe Illustrator which has more options for drawing and designing by hand. However, unless you’re a professional artist, or intentionally shooting for something non-professional (like Dream, for example), we recommend sticking with the free online software.
Should I Use a Template or Start from Scratch?
This one is totally up to you. Most people will start by simply changing the words on a template because they are quick, easy, and look great. The risk you run into here is somebody else using the same template as you. As unlikely as this might seem, there’s always a chance, and you should be aware of that.
You could also start with a template and then change multiple elements, such as the background, the color, the layout, etc. You could add photos and give it a personal touch of your own. This helps make it so that you won’t have a copy from somebody else, but templates can also appear cheesy at times, especially in a more professional atmosphere.
Most professionals will either hire someone to create a banner for them, or they will do it themselves from scratch. While this is certainly more difficult and involves more time investment, it has its advantages as well. Creating your own banner from scratch allows you to design the banner according to your own theme. You can customize everything on a banner from scratch. Thus, you can make it with your own brand and design. So it might be a little more investment, but it can definitely pay off for a banner that fits with your brand.
How Can I Design an Eye-Catching Banner?
Designing a banner that makes people stop and look is no easy task. Some people’s entire careers are built out of learning how to design something the right way. We can’t give you a whole course in design right now, but here are some pointers to keep in mind as you design your own banner:
- Less is more. Especially in the age of minimalism. You don’t want a banner that has too much going on. This isn’t to say that your banner can’t contain the necessary information, but you don’t want it to be crowded either.
- Be careful with colors. Understanding color schemes is huge for anyone designing anything. We won’t delve into color theory in this article, but a quick Google search can work wonders for both learning about color schemes, and finding inspiration for color schemes as well.
- Make it interesting. Even for channels that are more serious, there should be something that excites a newcomer and makes them want to watch your videos. Do something that catches their attention, whether it’s an assortment of dark, edgy pictures like NF, or a short phrase to pique interest like Practical Psychology or The School of Life. Whatever it is, make it fit your brand, and make sure it catches their eye and makes them curious enough to explore.
How do I Upload My Banner to Youtube?
Once you have your banner designed and ready to go, the last step is uploading it to Youtube. Thankfully, Youtube makes this easy, so long as you know where you’re going.
To start, make sure that you have your completed banner downloaded to a place where it’s easy to find. Then, you’ll navigate to your own Youtube channel page. You can do this by logging into Youtube, clicking on your profile picture icon in the top right corner, and then clicking “Your Channel” from the drop-down menu.
Once you’re to your channel page, click on “Customize Channel” next to your profile picture and channel name. If you already have a banner and want to change it, you can also click on the camera icon that appears when you hover over your current banner.
You should now be at the “Channel Customization” page. On this page, navigate to the tab called “Branding.” In this tab, you can change your profile picture, banner, and watermark. Under the “Banner image” section, you should have either an “upload” option if you don’t have a banner set up, or “change” and “remove” options if you currently have a banner in place. When you go to upload the banner, you’ll have another chance to preview the different screen sizes, and can adjust and crop your image to fit. However, if you followed our recommended dimensions from above, you should have no need to adjust or crop!
Now that you have your banner uploaded, you can choose to display links to other social media accounts on your banner as well. To do this, stay on the Channel Customization page, and navigate to the “Basic Info” tab (just to the right of the Branding tab). You can scroll down and you’ll find a section called “Links” where you can add links to any website, including social media pages. Add as many as you like! Your first link will appear slightly larger with a longer description than the subsequent ones.
Note: For the links to actually show up on your banner, make sure that the “Links on Banner” section directly beneath the Links section is not on “none.” You can select to show up to 5 separate links on your banner.